Body Positivity is more than just “fat acceptance,” its about cultivating a positive self-image, and outlook in life in spite of your weight, and still be a happy person on the inside. Which can be tough for most who are struggling with their weight. Even though we have so many options for weight loss these days, meal plans, weight watchers, fitness apps, diet plans, those challenged by the pressures to be thin, have a found a way to embrace who they are in full acceptance of themselves, calling it “body positivity.” Since the 1960’s advocates have sought to combat fat discrimination in healthcare, fashion, and employment, and we are now beginning to see the results of their hard earned efforts to “improve the quality of life for fat people.” Especially for “mid-size” women “sizes 10-14,” who experienced “fat-shaming and body confidence issues,” growing up, not thin, but not quite plus size, and finding clothes were difficult too.
For years celebrities like Jennifer Lopez, Kim Kardashian, and Instagrammers like Gabi Fresh, have expanded the definition of what we call beautiful, to also include shapely figures. The hourglass is back and we have them in part to thank for getting this “body positivity” trend started. It wasn’t long ago that Marilyn Monroe graced the big screen and magazines a “voluptuous size 12-16,” who many declare was an icon of body positivity. In fact most sex symbols embody just that, “body acceptance and self-love.” You no longer have to be a size 2 to feel pretty or to look good in your favorite clothes. What is body positivity? It’s having love and acceptance for yourself as you are and being yourself. It means that “all people deserve to have a positive body image, regardless of how society and popular culture view ideal shape, size, and appearance.” It’s not about your weight, it’s about how you feel. In response to “unrealistic body standards,” body positivity seeks to “promote acceptance of all bodies,” which they hope will in turn help “build confidence and acceptance.”
Practicing self-care is also a big part in contributing to your overall feelings of wellness, and “should focus on doing things that make you feel good about the body you have now,” including diet and exercise. Have some self-compassion. Don’t be so hard on yourself. For many struggling with their weight, overcoming “unhealthy behaviors,” became key to their success while battling food issues, and instead eating “healthy meals [that] fuel your mind and body.” Who claim that “self-care [was] essential [to their] body image and becoming [their] own person.” Be happy with where you are now, and what you look like, we are not getting any younger, and its completely normal for your body to change throughout the years, embrace those changes, and love the skin that you’re in. Don’t compare yourself to others, and learn to “accept what you look like in every situation,” that includes how you look in photos, whether you like it or not, you can always request to untag yourself. There is always time to improve. Self-care also includes listening to your body, everyone’s body has “specific needs” when it comes to food, types of movement, and rest, know yourself, and learn to trust your body. You are what you eat.
Some even encourage us to ditch the scale completely. Especially if you’re having self-esteem issues regarding your weight. Pay attention to your shape instead of how much you weigh and try to stay active no matter what size you are. “Maintaining a healthy body image and weight requires work and patience,” so don’t be discouraged if you don’t see results right away, staying body positive means no matter what your weight is you adapt rather than beat yourself up over it. Which includes, letting go of old ideals. Stop saving small clothes and buy clothes that fit.
Negative self-image, lack of acceptance for your shape and size has been viewed as contributing to self esteem issues, depression, and eating disorders. This is why body positivity activists seek to combat weight stigma, which “can lead to low self-esteem and higher rates of depression.” In fact, “70% of women between the ages of 18-30 dislike their bodies … [and] 45% [of men] say they are dissatisfied with their bodies too.”
(1) Practice self love, say out loud, and in writing.
(2) Practice positivity, cut out negativity, especially with social media.
(3) Be yourself, what do you like about yourself?
(4) Don’t compare yourself to others.
(5) Avoid negative self-talk.
You’re more than what you look like. There are so many other things to focus on and do for yourself in life other than focusing on what you don’t like about yourself. In doing things for yourself and practicing self-care you learn to love the person you are and feel good about yourself rather than not do things simply because you don’t want to be seen or are self-conscious about the way you look. Try “making [a] list of the things you like about your body.” Live life anyways and love the skin that you’re in.
Don’t give up. Staying active can, “ease the symptoms of depression and anxiety, two things closely linked to poor self-esteem.” It’s been recommended to “Combat insecurities by practicing self-love and learning that you don’t have to be perfect to be worthy.” Staying positive means, “Choos[ing] relationships with people who make you feel good about yourself.” Even if it’s just picking the social media content you follow, choose to surround yourself with people who promote health and wellness, and help to build you up not break you down in life.